The goblin NPC's say it all the time, I'm sure the Greedy Goblin would agree. However, I was thinking about it in a very specific context this weekend. One the things I enjoy most in Wow is leveling up crafting professions to support my army of alts. I've pretty much capped jewelcrafting and blacksmithing, leaving me to level leatherworking, alchemy, inscription, enchanting, and tailoring. The issue I'm considering: buy mats on the AH or grind them myself?
First of all, to get things out of the way, I am aware of the many power-leveling guides out there. Google warcraft xxx powerleveling guide 450 and you will probably find one. I'm not really concerned with how to get there. What I am concerned with is how to get there with the best use of resources. I say best and not cheapest because although grinding everything myself (and I def could, with the exception of northrend herbs, but as I'm not a level to use most of what would be made with northrend herbs, it's a moot point), time is a resource too, and that is obviously not the optimal use of it.
Enchanting is what got me to thinking about this in the first place. I was looking to make a runed arcanite rod for my warlock. I have plenty of enchanting mats saved up from my two other times leveling enchanting (had it on lock and dropped it, had it on pally and dropped it). The one thing that was killing me was the golden pearl. Now, they are in short supply in the AH, and the only one listed this weekend was 150g. Now, on certain things, I might spend 150g. I dropped 100g on a scroll of greater savagery for my pally's Greatsword of the Sindorei. But on something I'm gonna be using maybe a day? Fuck that! So I ground on turtles, first in Tanaris, then right next to Revantusk village (the higher level turtles take an extra hit to go down, but there's a ton of them). I believe it took me about 45 mins and 30 clams to get my pearl. Its not just the fact that I didn't want to drop 150g, I also refuse to support anyone who tries to auction things at ridiculous prices. I prefer to purchase a lesser item, go without, or grind it myself. (As a side note, I did pay around 130g for a 20 stack of small radiant shards, but as my enchanter is level 61, those would have been a pain to grind and thats a hair above market for a ton of them, so I felt ok with that purchase.)
Another market I feel is ridiculously overpriced is herbs. I have 3 flower pickers (herbalists, but come on, they're flower pickers), soon to be 2 once I drop herbalism on my mage for tailoring (which I've been considering doing sooner rather than later, I'd planned to wait till 3.2, but since I've been leveling my warrior again and spending a decent amount of time in Zangarmarsh, I have a decent amount of herbs). I know this has to do with inscription and how A) its horribly resource intensive and B) every level of herbs are useful, even for level capped characters due to minor inscriptions. While I support this on the sell side (yes, buy my over-priced herbs), again, I refuse to buy them. I have plenty of characters leveling who can just pick the herbs while they're questing and have plenty of materials (usually) for leveling. That is definately true of Alchemy, inscription seems to go through the herbs a little fast, so I've needed to make a few dedicated herbing runs for it. Hence my waiting for 3.2 so my herbers can have epic land mounts (I'm not going to buy 600g mounts for 4 characters when in less than a month they'll be less than 50).
Leather and cloth, while overpriced in the AH, I put into the "grind for" category. Generally, in the course of leveling, you will get TONS of cloth, and if you are a skinner, probably tons of that as well. Now I refuse to level first aid on any character except my warrior and death knight (who are the only two characters I'm leveling who can't heal themselves somehow and even they have minor abilities to do that). I just see first aid as a huge waste. So I've saved up more than enough linen, silk, runecloth, etc to powerlevel, probably up to the 450 level which again, I cant use things of that level anyways. Leather is similar, I've gotten plenty of leather while leveling to raise my leatherworking, and as skinning adds crit rating, I have found it quite handy to have on my shammy and druid. I did hit a bit of a snag once I hit outlands, but I expect to clear that up once I get into Nagrand (it seems like all you do in Nagrand is kill things, beasts, demons, elementals, Ogres; they're bloodthirsty out there).
So in short, I prefer to grind in general. Its not that I'm against the AH, I think it's a great resource. I love to use it to sell junk I can't use or stuff I've crafted for a decent profit (it did cost me an arm and a leg leveling up those professions, I should be allowed to make some of it back). I just think that the rate at which people are selling raw mats is just shy of ridiculous and personally, I won't pay it. Now, obviously everyone's situation is different. I, with 5 alts I'm leveling, 1 at cap and 3k gold on the account, am in a different circumstance than a lot of people. I also don't mind grinding. It makes me feel self sufficient which is my goal overall.
Mid Afternoon Quickie
3 years ago